Water conservation tips

WATER CONSERVATION TIPS

Do you know how much water you use on a daily basis?

Although we do not have water shortage in Denmark, there are many good reasons to address our water overconsumption. Luckily for us, our underground is healthy and our underground water is among the purest in the world.

Nature constantly produces new underground water, but if we abstract too much, our nature will fail to reproduce enough. Water is a vital ressource, which we need to protect.

We need our drinking water to survive, but we use water to much more than quench thirst. A large part of our water consumption is used for agriculture, ensuring the survival of the crops that end up as our food. In periods of drought, agriculture wears hard on our ground water supply, and if we want to maintain the healthy eco-system, which currently provides food enough for everyone, protecting our ground water supply is a prudent measure.

By introducing water conservation procedures, you will not only pacify your conscience by protecting the environment – you will also get a lower water bill. We have collected a list of tips for small changes in your everyday life that will help you reduce your water consumption, and most of them require very little effort.

If we scale up your efforts and assume that not only you and your family, but your whole town and the entire nation does the same, it will have an enormous impact on the global water ressources.

Every Dane uses in average 105 litres of water every day?

It takes about 100 years to produce clear drinking water?

63% of our water use is spent on hygiene and toilet flush?

It costs 60% more to use hot water than cold water?

It takes 20 seconds to wash your hands properly. During a day, it adds up to many minutes spent rubbing your hands with soap correctly before rinsing, and if you let the water running, you send a significant amount of clean water directly back in the drain. Instead, wet your hands, turn of the water and then add soap and wash your hands thoroughly before rinsing. Your hands will still be clean, and it will help you bring down your water bill.

We should wash hands after using the toilet, before and after eating, and when we have touched things that may be infectious.

In avearge, this adds up to 16 times during a day = 5 minutes.
By the end of the day you will have flushed 101 liters of pure water back in the drain by hand wash alone, which in a year adds ups to 37 m3.
Price: approximately 2.553,- DKK (per person)

No one likes to pay for things they don’t get.
A running toilet is more expensive than you would expect, and if you like the idea of protecting the environment and save money at the same time, checking regularly if your toilet is running is a good idea. Even though it is not visible to the eye, it may leak just a bit. You can check it by placing a dry piece of toilet paper to the back of the bowl. If the paper gets wet, you toilet is running.

The running is so weak that it is hard to see:

275 liters of water/day = 100 m3/year.
Price: Approximately 7.000 DKK per year.

The running is visible:

550 liters of water/day = 200 m3/year
Pric: Approximately 13.900 DKK per year.

Creating a rippling of water on the surface:

1.100 liters of water/day = 400 m3/year.
Price: Approximately 27.900 DKK per year.

Just like a running toilet, you are wasting water and money if your water tap leaks.
Over a year, a faucet leak may cost you up to 100.000 liters of water, and even a few drips may add up to a significant amount of money.

Slow drip – approximately one drop/second:

20 liters of water/day = 7 m3/year.
Price: Approximately 500 DKK per year.

Fast drip:

80 liters of water/day = 30 m3 water/year
Price: Approximately 2.000 DKK per year.

Thin water jet:

275 liters of water/day = 100 m3 water/year.
Price: Approximately 7.000 DKK per year.

Installing a faucet aerator will save 25-40 % of your water consumption. A faucet aerator mixes the water with air, which reduces the amount of water coming out of the tap. The jet feels bigger than it is, and you won’t even notice the difference.

Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. A running tap uses up to 19 liters per minute. This corresponds to sending back almost 14.000 liters of pure water directly back in the drain every year, which is both expensive, unnecessary and without consideration for the environment. For a family of four it adds up to 152 liters of water a day (56 m3 a year), and the price will be approximately 3.220 DKK. 

Do you shower on a daily basis? Our daily shower routine is one area where a few adjustments can have a big impact on our water consumption. Depending on the shower type, we use between six and 20 liters water per minute, so although it is tempting to add a few extra minutes to the shower, it is a much better idea to take a few minutes less. By shortening five showers a week from 15 minutes to five minutes (possibly allocated on different family members), you will save 2.700 DKK a year.
A good tip is to shut off the water while you soap.

A low-flow shower head will give you the same effect in your shower as an aerator gives to your water tap: it will spread the water and mix it with air, providing the same comfort, though using less water. Using a low-flow shower head will reduce your water consumption on showers by 50%, which will have a big impact on your water bill. A regular shower uses 10-20 liters of water a minute, whereas a low-flow shower head uses 6-10 liters per minute.

A daily 10-minute shower uses approximately 200 liters of water (without a low-flow shower head). It amounts to 1400 liters of water a week and 73.000 liters of water a year.
Annual price (approx.): 5.037,- DKK
With a low-flow shower head, you use around 100 liters of water a day.
It amounts to 700 liters of water a week and 36.500 liters a year.
Annual price (approx.): 2.553,- DKK

Many of us are more comfortable rinsing the tableware before putting it in the dishwasher. Maybe we think it will save electricity, because the dishwasher will be spared for the hard work, or we expect the tableware to be more clean if rinsed first? Both assumptions are wrong, because modern dishwashers are designed to clean dirty tableware with no need to rinse it first. Some dishwashers even come with an intelligent cleaning program that will only release enzymes, when the tableware is dirty, so there is no need to waste good water on unnecessary rinsing (unless it is to remove some of the tenacious leftovers that may be difficult to remove, such as avocado or eggs etc.).

Let’s stay with the dishwasher. If you’d like to minimize your water consumption, protect the environment and save money on both water and electricity, you should make sure to fill up the dishwasher entirely before starting it. It uses the same amount of water, regardless how much is in it, so you might as well benefit the most from each wash. If you use your dishwasher on a regular basis, and it comes with a savings program, this may save you even more water and electricity.

It costs about 50 øre a minute to let the water running, so rinse fruit and vegetables in a bowl or in a tub, rather than under the running tap.
The water you have used for rinsing can be used for watering flowers and plants.

We love our gardens, and we need to water our lawn and flowers for them to thrive.
Instead of using a garden hose, it is recommended to use a watering can. When using the hose, we don’t see how much water we actually use, and we may easily use 500 liters in half an hour. This gets quite expensive, particularly if there is no need to use so much. Also, avoid to water in the middle of the day, where the water will evaporate in the sun.

Read your water meter once a week. It will give you an indication of how much water you use, and you may monitor the effects of your behaviors.
It also allows for you to discover a leak on your water pipes, before it ends up getting too expensive.